2 Towns Hop and Stalk

Review of 2 Towns’ Imperial Hop and Stalk, a seasonal release with Citra hops and rhubarb.  I sampled this last year (see here), and I’ve tried most of their line-up (see here).

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>>This is a review of a sample bottle provided to Cider Says by 2 Towns.  Although I will take care to treat it the same as any other review, there is always the potential for bias as I received it for free.  The only consideration I knowingly made was pushing this up in my cider review cue.  I love free stuff, especially cider!  Want your cider or cider-related product reviewed here?  Contact me.<<

Cider:  Hop and Stalk
Cidery:  2 Towns
Cidery Location:  Corvallis OR
ABV:  8.2%
How Supplied:  500ml bottles and kegs
Style:  American Imperial (high ABV) craft cider made from dessert apples, with Citra hops and rhubarb

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Availability:  Seasonably (May-Aug) in AK, CA, HI, ID, IL (Chicago), MN, NV, OR, and WA.

Cider Description:  Fresh and citrusy, Hop & Stalk packs a Northwest punch.  Fresh-pressed apples and rhubarb are dry-hopped with Citra hops, creating a cider erupting with fresh aromatics and a tart, biting backbone.

Cidery Description:  At 2 Towns Ciderhouse we believe that the long history of cidermaking demands respect and deserves to be done right. Starting with the highest quality whole ingredients from local farms, we take no shortcuts in crafting our ciders. We never add any sugar, concentrates or artificial flavors, and instead use slow, cold fermentation methods to allow the fruit to speak for itself. As a family-owned company, we are committed to the growth of our team and enrichment of our communities. We take pride in producing true Northwest craft cider.

Price:  n/a (runs $7.99)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  n/a

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First Impression:  Hazy lemonade medium straw yellow.  Low carbonation.  Smells very aromatic, primarily of citrus, with some hops and strawberry-rhubarb.

Tasting Notes:  On the sweeter side of semi-dry.  Medium bodied.  Low to moderate tartness.  Moderate acidity.  Low bitterness and tannins.  No sourness or funk.  Notes of citrus (lemon, lime, and orange), hops, floral, rhubarb, and strawberry.  Long finish with some baked apple.  Low apple flavor.  Moderate sessionability, flavor intensity, and complexity.  Moderate to strong hoppiness.

My Opinion:  I enjoyed it, but I liked last year’s batch better, as it seemed a tad more balanced (more fruity / less hoppy).

Most Similar to:  Hopped ciders with lots of citrus notes and some fruitiness.  Portland Cider Hop’Rageous also uses Citra hops, so you get more citrus & floral than bitter hops.  Tod Creek Mala-Hop also had a lot of citrus notes, but used Chinook, Sterling and Centennial, not Citra hops.  This is the most citrusy hopped cider I’ve tried though, and the only one with another fruit addition.

Closing Notes:  Another winner from 2 Towns!

Have you tried 2 Towns Hop and Stalk?  What did you think?

2 Towns Prickle Me Pink ^2

Review of 2 Towns Prickly Me Pink ^2 , a new iteration of the previous limited release (which I reviewed here in 2015), with prickly pear cactus fruit, and this time, watermelon.  I’ve also previously tried most of their line-up (see here).

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>>This is a review of a sample bottle provided to Cider Says by 2 Towns.  Although I will take care to treat it the same as any other review, there is always the potential for bias as I received it for free.  The only consideration I knowingly made was pushing this up in my cider review cue.  I love free stuff, especially cider!  Want your cider or cider-related product reviewed here?  Contact me.<<

Cider:  Prickle Me Pink ^2
Cidery:  2 Towns
Cidery Location:  Corvallis OR
ABV:  5.7%
How Supplied:  500ml bottles
Style:  American craft cider from dessert apples with prickly pear cactus fruit and watermelon

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Availability:  Seasonably (May-Aug) in AK, CA, HI, ID, IL (Chicago), MN, NV, OR, and WA.

Cider Description:  Exuberant & quenching, Prickle Me Pink ^2 is pink and multiplied by pink.  Glowing with a naturally derived color, this taste bud oasis is crafted with Northwest apples, prickly pear cactus fruit, and now watermelon.

Dave Takush, the head cider maker said, “If you’re wondering what to pair it with, we’d suggest a watergun fight set to the tunes of Wham..”

Cidery Description:  At 2 Towns Ciderhouse we believe that the long history of cidermaking demands respect and deserves to be done right. Starting with the highest quality whole ingredients from local farms, we take no shortcuts in crafting our ciders. We never add any sugar, concentrates or artificial flavors, and instead use slow, cold fermentation methods to allow the fruit to speak for itself. As a family-owned company, we are committed to the growth of our team and enrichment of our communities. We take pride in producing true Northwest craft cider.

Price: n/a (runs $7.99)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  I first tried this at Cider Summit Seattle 2015.

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First Impression:  Bright pink hue.  Nearly still.  Smells moderate fruity.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry to dry.  Light to medium bodied.  Mild tartness.  Mild to moderate acidity.  Hints of bitterness and tannins.  No sourness and funk.  Notes of cactus fruit, watermelon, strawberry, and kiwi.  Low to moderate flavor intensity and complexity.  No apple flavor.  High sessionability.  Quick finish.

My Opinion:  Yum!  I really enjoyed this, especially how fruity and flavorful it was for the dryness.  It was too easy to drink.  I had imaged this higher carbonated, but at the same time, I don’t think it would work as well as I think it would.

Most Similar to:  Nothing much.  I’ve not had any other ciders with cactus fruit except 2 Towns’ first release of this cider.  I’ve had a handful of other ciders with watermelon though; namely, Pear UP’s Watermelon Perry.

Closing Notes:  I’m surprised they went so dry with this; however, it worked.  I think this was even tastier than the last release.  The watermelon was a great addition, and also helped so the cider wasn’t quite so fluorescent pink (and likely reduced the ingredient cost too).

Have you tried 2 Towns Prickle Me Pink?  What did you think?

2 Towns Flight of the Kiwi

Review of 2 Towns’ Flight of the Kiwi, their newest special release cider, made with all NW ingredients – dessert apples, kiwi berries, and gooseberries, fermented with Sauvignon Blanc yeast, then oak aged.  See the press release here.  It is my first time trying this cider, although I’ve tried most of their lineup (see here).

>>This is a review of a sample bottle provided to Cider Says by 2 Towns.  Although I will take care to treat it the same as any other review, there is always the potential for bias as I received it for free.  The only consideration I knowingly made was pushing this up in my cider review cue.  I love free stuff, especially cider!  Want your cider or cider-related product reviewed here?  Contact me.<<

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Cider:  Flight of the Kiwi
Cidery:  2 Towns
Cidery Location:  Corvallis OR
ABV:  5.8%
How Supplied:  500ml bottles
Style:  American craft cider from dessert apples, with kiwi berries & gooseberries, oak aged

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Availability:  limited release, primarily in CA, OR, and WA

Cider Description:  Corvallis, Oregon’s 2 Towns Ciderhouse has a new uniquely fruited hard cider out called “Flight of the Kiwi,” an oak-aged cider made with NW kiwi fruit, fresh-pressed apples, and some gooseberries for good measure. This tropical-flavored cider has a sessionable 5.8% ABV. Two pounds of hardy kiwi berries, small cousins of the better-known kiwifruit, go into every gallon of this cider, which is fermented cold with Sauvignon Blanc yeast and is named after New Zealand’s curious flightless bird….Flight of the Kiwi has the backbone to stand up to flavorful and hearty fare—try pairing it with chipotle pork or bacon grilled cheese sandwiches.

Cidery Description:  At 2 Towns Ciderhouse we believe that the long history of cidermaking demands respect and deserves to be done right. Starting with the highest quality whole ingredients from local farms, we take no shortcuts in crafting our ciders. We never add any sugar, concentrates or artificial flavors, and instead use slow, cold fermentation methods to allow the fruit to speak for itself. As a family-owned company, we are committed to the growth of our team and enrichment of our communities. We take pride in producing true Northwest craft cider.

Price:  n/a
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  cidery press release

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First Impression:  Medium straw yellow hue.  Still (no carbonation).  Smells mild, of kiwi and white grape.

Tasting Notes:  On the sweeter side of semi-dry.  Medium bodied.  Low tartness.  Moderate acidity.  Hints of bitterness and tannins.  No sourness or funk.  Notes of kiwi, white grape, mango, pineapple, mineral, lemon, and oak.  Quick finish length.  Low apple flavor.  High sessionability.  Low flavor intensity.  Moderate complexity.  Low oak influence.

My Opinion:  This was a subtle wine-like cider, which I usually don’t go for.  However, I really liked the flavor and complexity of this one, plus it was very easy to drink and food-friendly.

Most Similar to:  Moa Brewing Kiwifruit cider, which is the only other cider with kiwi added which I’ve tried; it also had a lot of wine-like subtlety, but was carbonated.

Closing Notes:  This was another winner from 2 Towns!

Have you tried 2 Towns Flight of the Kiwi?  What did you think?

2 Towns Return of the Mack

Review of 2 Towns Return of the Mack, a limited release unfiltered oak aged cider made with McIntosh apples.  I previously tried an earlier release of this on draft (see here).  I’ve also tried many other ciders from 2 Towns (see here).

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>>This is a review of a sample bottle provided to Cider Says by 2 Towns.  Although I will take care to treat it the same as any other review, there is always the potential for bias as I received it for free.  The only consideration I knowingly made was pushing this up in my cider review cue.  I love free stuff, especially cider!  Want your cider or cider-related product reviewed here?  Contact me.<<

Cider:  Return of the Mack
Cidery:  2 Towns
Cidery Location:  Corvallis Oregon
ABV:  8.4%
How Supplied:  500ml bottles (and kegs)
Style:  American craft unfiltered cider with McIntosh apples, aged 12 months in oak foeders

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Availability:  Limited release, but 2 Towns ciders are generally available in AK, CA, HI, ID, OR, WA, and Minneapolis MN & Chicago IL.

Cider Description:  Rich and complex, Return of the Mack is a specialty cider aged for 12 months in 1800 liter oak foeders and finished with McIntosh apples.  So good.  Yes, I cried, yes, I cried.

From Dave Takush, head cider maker for 2 Towns Ciderhouse:  Return of the Mack is super rich, exceptionally juicy and has a big oak tannin backbone.  It makes a great pairing with dark and stormy nights, and 90s slow jams.

Cidery Description:  At 2 Towns Ciderhouse we believe that the long history of cidermaking demands respect and deserves to be done right. Starting with the highest quality whole ingredients from local farms, we take no shortcuts in crafting our ciders. We never add any sugar, concentrates or artificial flavors, and instead use slow, cold fermentation methods to allow the fruit to speak for itself. As a family-owned company, we are committed to the growth of our team and enrichment of our communities. We take pride in producing true Northwest craft cider.

Price:  n/a (retails for $7.99)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  It showed up at my door (I’m spoiled!).

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First Impression:  Hazy dark pumpkin straw yellow.  Still (no carbonation).  Smells like tart unfiltered apple juice.

Tasting Notes:  On the drier side of semi-sweet.  Medium bodied.  Low to moderate tartness.  Moderate acidity.  Hints of bitterness and tannins.  No sourness or funk.  Smooth with a well-hidden ABV.  Notes of unfiltered apple juice, lemon, orange, honey, and a hint of floral.  Quick to moderate length finish.  Moderate to high apple flavor.  High sessionability.  Moderate flavor intensity.  Low complexity.  Low oak influence (I expect it smoothed the flavor out more than adding any significant overt oak flavor).

My Opinion:  I enjoyed Return of the Mack, but it is more of a basic easy drinking cider which I would expect to find in a multi pack, vs. a single bottle specialty release.

Most Similar to:  I’d call this a sweeter, more boozy, and slightly more complex version of 2 Towns Out Cider.

Closing Notes:  2 Towns makes some great stuff.  My favorites are Traditions Bourbon Barrel 2012, Bad Apple, Hop & Stalk, Traditions Cidre Bouche 2015, and Pommeau 2015.

Have you tried 2 Towns Return of the Mack?  What did you think?

2 Towns Traditions Riverwood New World Brut – 2015 Vintage

Review of 2 Towns Traditions Riverwood New World Brut, 2015 vintage, a champagne-style cider.  This is one of two ciders which were released to start off their new Traditions line.  Their Traditions line will replace their separate Traditions brand and focus on barrel aged vintage cider from heirloom apples.  The other is Cidre Bouche.  Two others will soon be released, Afton Field and La Mûre.  This is the third vintage of Riverwood.  I’ve tried the two previous vintages, Traditions brand 2013 vintage and 2 Towns brand 2014 vintage.  I’ve also tried many other ciders from 2 Towns (see here).

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>>This is a review of a sample bottle provided to Cider Says by 2 Towns.  Although I will take care to treat it the same as any other review, there is always the potential for bias as I received it for free.  The only consideration I knowingly made was pushing this up in my cider review cue.  I love free stuff, especially cider!  Want your cider or cider-related product reviewed here?  Contact me.<<

Cider:  Traditions Riverwood New World Brut, 2015 Vintage
Cidery:  2 Towns
Cidery Location:  Corvallis Oregon
ABV:  6.3%
How Supplied:  375ml bottles
Style:  American craft champagne-style cider from heirloom apples, barrel aged

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Availability:  Limited (only 240 cases of 12 bottles), although 2 Towns ciders are generally available in AK, CA, HI, ID, OR, WA, and Minneapolis MN & Chicago IL.

Cider Description:  Willamette Valley grown Jonagold apples.  Oregon grown bittersharp cider apples.  Finished in chardonnay barrels.  Inspired by sparkling brut champagnes of the past, Riverwood is a contemporary take on a classic. Slow fermentation at cold temperatures allows the intense passionfruit-like aroma of freshly picked and pressed Jonagold and Porter’s Perfection apples to flourish. Dry, bright, and floral, this New World cider brings the brut style out of the past and into the present. Pairs well with lobster mushroom risotto, butternut squash ravioli in sage brown butter, asparagus with lemon aioli and Moroccan chicken with dates and braised greens.

Cidery Description:  At 2 Towns Ciderhouse we believe that the long history of cidermaking demands respect and deserves to be done right. Starting with the highest quality whole ingredients from local farms, we take no shortcuts in crafting our ciders. We never add any sugar, concentrates or artificial flavors, and instead use slow, cold fermentation methods to allow the fruit to speak for itself. As a family-owned company, we are committed to the growth of our team and enrichment of our communities. We take pride in producing true Northwest craft cider.

Price:  n/a
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  n/a

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First Impression:  Dark straw yellow hue.  Moderate carbonation.  Smells mildly floral and of high acidity.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry.  Medium bodied.  Moderate tartness.  High acidity.  Hints of bitterness and tannins.  No sourness or funk.  Subtle notes of floral, lemon, grapefruit, and mineral.  Moderate length finish.  Low apple flavor.  Moderate sessionability.  Low flavor intensity.  Low to moderate complexity.  Low oak influence.

My Opinion:  This was well made, but not really a style I enjoy, with its subtle wine-like flavor and high acidity.  However, its very food-friendly and a great champagne alternative.

Most Similar to:  Cockrell Jonastar, Alpenfire Dungeness, and Seattle Cider Washington Heirloom.

Closing Notes:  I liked last year’s vintage better, as it seemed more apple forward, more intensely flavored, sweeter, and less acidic.

Have you tried 2 Towns Traditions Riverwood?  What did you think?

2 Towns Traditions Cidre Bouche – 2015 Vintage

Review of 2 Towns Traditions Cidre Bouche, a French-style keeved cider.  This is one of two ciders which they released to start off their new Traditions line.  Their Traditions line will replace their separate Traditions brand and focus on barrel aged vintage cider from heirloom apples.  The other is Riverwood, which I’ll be reviewing next.  Two others will soon be released, Afton Field and La Mûre.  Its my first time trying this cider, although I’ve tried many other ciders from 2 Towns (see here).

Keeving is a special labor intensive process of fermenting the cider slowly, starving it of natural nutrients.  It results in an apple-forward, naturally sweet, lower ABV, and higher carbonation cider.  This is typical for French cidre, but is very rare in the U.S.

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>>This is a review of a sample bottle provided to Cider Says by 2 Towns.  Although I will take care to treat it the same as any other review, there is always the potential for bias as I received it for free.  The only consideration I knowingly made was pushing this up in my cider review cue.  I love free stuff, especially cider!  Want your cider or cider-related product reviewed here?  Contact me.<<

Cider:  Traditions Cidre Bouche
Cidery:  2 Towns
Cidery Location:  Corvallis Oregon
ABV:  6.5%
How Supplied:  375ml bottles
Style:  American craft French keeved style cider from heirloom apples, oak aged

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Availability:  Limited (only 240 cases of 12 bottles), although 2 Towns ciders are generally available in AK, CA, HI, ID, OR, WA, and Minneapolis MN & Chicago IL.

Cider Description:  Oregon grown bittersweet heirloom apples.  Old world keeving method.  Aged in French oak casks….Inspired by the bittersweet ciders of France, Cidre Bouché is made with an Old World process called keeving. We start with 100% traditional cider apple varieties like Kingston Black, Michelin, Reine des Pommes, Dabinett and Muscat de Lense, and then let the fruit ‘sweat’ and intensify in aroma. Next, the apples are crushed and left to soak on the skins before the juice is fermented slowly over the course of a year, and aged in French oak casks. When finished, this keeved cider is rich, thick and brimming with overripe bittersweet apple character. Pairs well with classic French fare— think savory crepes, pork terrine, camembert and blue cheese.

Cidery Description:  At 2 Towns Ciderhouse we believe that the long history of cidermaking demands respect and deserves to be done right. Starting with the highest quality whole ingredients from local farms, we take no shortcuts in crafting our ciders. We never add any sugar, concentrates or artificial flavors, and instead use slow, cold fermentation methods to allow the fruit to speak for itself. As a family-owned company, we are committed to the growth of our team and enrichment of our communities. We take pride in producing true Northwest craft cider.

Price:  n/a
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  n/a

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First Impression:  Hazy medium orange amber hue.  Still (no carbonation).  Smells slightly funky and apple forward.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry to semi-sweet.  Medium bodied.  Low to moderate tartness.  Moderate to high acid.  Low funk and tannins.  Hints of sourness and bitterness.  Notes of unfiltered apple juice, apple pomace, honey, orange, grapefruit, and butterscotch.  Moderate length finish.  Moderate to high apple flavor.  Moderate sessionability.  Moderate flavor intensity.  Moderate complexity.

My Opinion:  I really enjoyed it, and thought it paired well with Thanksgiving dinner.  It got a bit funkier as it warmed up, so I preferred it cold.  I’m a fan of these sorts of bold and rich ciders, and of (not too funky or sour) French cidre.

Most Similar to:  French cidre.  It definitely seemed true to the style, in between Normandy and Brittany French cidre as it was a bit funky (as Normandy cidre can tend to be), but not overly so.  However, it was a bit higher acidity and more fruity though (although the grapefruit I picked up might have been more from the high acidity than anything else), which was a nice twist.

Closing Notes:   I look forward to trying the other ciders in their new Traditions line.  I think they made a great choice to release them in smaller 375ml bottles, as it will reduce the price point and increase the number of bottles available.  I also think the switch to keep these under their 2 Towns brand but in a separate category was a smart move.

Have you tried 2 Towns Traditions Cidre Bouche?  What did you think?

2 Towns Nice & Naughty Imperial Spiced Cider

Review of 2 Towns’ Nice & Naughty Imperial Spiced Cider, their winter seasonal high ABV cider with cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.  I’ve tried this before (see here), and even tried the bourbon barrel aged version (see here), but only on draft.  I’ve previously tried most of their lineup; see here.

>>This is a review of a sample bottle provided to Cider Says by 2 Towns.  Although I will take care to treat it the same as any other review, there is always the potential for bias as I received it for free.  The only consideration I knowingly made was pushing this up in my cider review cue.  I love free stuff, especially cider!  Want your cider or cider-related product reviewed here?  Contact me.<<

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Cider:  Nice & Naughty
Cidery:  2 Towns
Cidery Location:  Corvallis OR
ABV:  10.5%
How Supplied:  500ml bottles
Style:  American craft apple honey wine with spices

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Availability:  Thru the end of 2016 in AK, CA, HI, ID, OR, WA, and Minneapolis MN & Chicago IL.

Cider Description:  Festive and warming, Nice & Naughty is crammed full of whole cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, and a touch of honey to celebrate the season.  Made with Cinnamon, Nutmeg & Clove.

Cidery Description:  At 2 Towns Ciderhouse we believe that the long history of cidermaking demands respect and deserves to be done right. Starting with the highest quality whole ingredients from local farms, we take no shortcuts in crafting our ciders. We never add any sugar, concentrates or artificial flavors, and instead use slow, cold fermentation methods to allow the fruit to speak for itself. As a family-owned company, we are committed to the growth of our team and enrichment of our communities. We take pride in producing true Northwest craft cider.

Price:  n/a (retails for ~$8)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  n/a

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First Impression:  Light to medium straw yellow hue.  Low carbonation.  Smells sweet, of baked apples and cinnamon.

Tasting Notes:  On the sweeter side of semi-dry.  Medium bodied.  Moderate tartness.  Moderate to high acidity.  Low bitterness and tannins.  No sourness or funk.  Notes of baked apples, juicy apples, cinnamon, nutmeg, hints of cloves, honey, and citrus.  Long warming slightly boozy finish.  Low to moderate sessionability.  Moderate apple flavor.  Moderate flavor intensity / spice intensity.  Low to moderate complexity.

My Opinion:  Tasty.  I liked it better closer to room than fridge temperature, oddly enough (considering the high ABV).  The level of spice is nice…not overwhelming.  I also liked that it wasn’t overly sweet.  It is however a bit on the acidic side.

Most Similar to:  AEppelTreow Sparrow Spiced and Elemental Seasonal Spiced Apple, both which had similar levels of sweetness and flavor profiles, but not as high of an ABV.  Reverend Nat’s Winter Abbey Spice has a higher ABV, but had an odd sourness.

Closing Notes:   If you are looking for a unique spiced cider, one with a bit more kick but not too much sweetness, this is a nice choice.

Have you tried 2 Towns Nice & Naughty?  What did you think?